Middle East leaders join world in condemnation of deadly France attack

Earlier on Thursday Saudi Arabia had voiced it’s condemnation of the attack. (AFP)
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Updated 30 October 2020

Middle East leaders join world in condemnation of deadly France attack

  • Saudi Arabia had earlier condemned the attacks saying they were inconsistent with all religions
  • Pope Francis prays for the victims as Vatican says terrorism and violence should be rejected

PARIS: World leaders condemned fatal stabbings in the French city of Nice Thursday that France called an Islamist terrorist attack.
Condemnation came from US President Donald Trump, UN chief Antonio Guterres, as well as European, Arab and Israeli leaders.
“Our hearts are with the people of France. America stands with our oldest Ally in this fight,” Trump tweeted. “These Radical Islamic terrorist attacks must stop immediately. No country, France or otherwise can long put up with it!“
One of the first to condemn was Turkey, embroiled in a row with France over the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that have triggered a wave of attacks against French people.
“We strongly condemn the attack committed today inside the Notre-Dame church in Nice,” a Turkish foreign ministry statement said.
It expressed solidarity with France, and offered condolences to relatives of the three people killed in the attack.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also condemned the attack, while adding that “peace cannot be achieved with ugly provocation.”
Elsewhere in the Middle East, Arab and Islamic leaders drew a clear distinction between their religion and violent acts that claimed to defend it.
Egypt’s foreign ministry said it “stands as a government and people with... France in combating this hateful incident.”
Qatar voiced strong condemnation and reiterated its rejection of violence and terrorism, especially against places of worship and regardless of the motives.
Lebanese prime minister designate Saad Hariri urged Muslims “to reject this criminal act that has nothing to do with Islam or the Prophet.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison slammed the killing as “an attack on liberty. When we think of France, we think of liberty. And we stand with the people of France.”

Also read: Saudi Arabia condemns Nice church attack

European Union leaders quickly expressed solidarity with France, and pledged to confront “those that seek to incite and spread hatred.”
“I condemn the odious and brutal attack that has just taken place in Nice and I am with France with all my heart,” European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted.
“We will remain united and determined in the face of barbarity and fanaticism.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was “deeply shaken by the brutal murders” and said “my thoughts are with the relatives of those murdered and injured. Germany stands with France at this difficult time.”
In a statement issued later by EU Council chief Charles Michel, the 27 leaders expressed solidarity with France but made no reference to the controversy over cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.
 




A relative of one of the victims looks on at the scene of the killings which took place inside the church. (AFP)


Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte condemned a “cowardly attack” and said: “Our convictions are stronger than fanaticism, hatred and terror. We embrace the families of the victims and our French brothers. We are united!“
Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez added: “We continue to defend freedom, our democratic values, peace and the security of our citizens.”

A harder tone came from Hungary, where populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban wrote that the attack showed clearly “that our culture, our way of life and our European values are in the crosshairs of extremist terrorism.
“We are ready to join forces in order to protect traditional European values and the traditional European way of life,” Orban added.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who previously governed with far-right ministers, called the murders in Nice “a despicable Islamist terror attack.”
“We will defend our values and European ‘way of life’ with all our might against Islamists and political Islam,” Kurz said.

Indian premier Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, strongly condemned the “heinous attack in Nice” and added that his country also “stands with France in the fight against terrorism.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was “appalled” at the “barbaric attack at the Notre-Dame Basilica,” he tweeted in English and French.
“Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the UK stands steadfastly with France against terror and intolerance.”

Pope Francis prayed for the victims as the Vatican said that “terrorism and violence can never be accepted.
“Today’s attack has sown death in a place of love and consolation,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
The pontiff urged people in France, a multi-cultural society, to “unite to combat evil with good.”
During talks with the Italian foreign minister, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin warned: “The attempt to foment war between religions is inconceivable.
“There is no war between Christianity and Islam, or between Judaism and Islam and we must be sure that no one is allowed to make that happen.”


French officers detained after fury over beating video

Updated 27 November 2020

French officers detained after fury over beating video

  • Images published by the Loopsider website show how music producer Michel Zecler was repeatedly beaten by police
  • Celebrities including football World Cup winners Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann condemned the beating

PARIS: French authorities on Friday detained four officers suspected of beating and racially abusing a black music producer in Paris in a case that has shocked President Emmanuel Macron and drawn outrage from celebrities and sports stars.
Images published by the Loopsider website show how music producer Michel Zecler was repeatedly beaten by police for several minutes and subjected to racial abuse as he tried to enter his music studio Saturday evening.
Celebrities including football World Cup winners Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann condemned the beating, while French star singer Aya Nakamura said she wished the producer strength, adding “thank you to those who filmed.”
A presidential official said Friday that Macron, too, was “very shocked” by the images.
The incident raised questions over the future of Paris police chief Didier Lallement, already in the spotlight after the controversial forced removal of a migrant camp in Paris earlier in the week.
It also put the government on the backfoot as it tries to push through new security legislation that would restrict the right of the media to publish the faces of police agents.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who is in charge of the police forces, told French television that the officers tarnished the reputation of France’s security forces.
The four officers, all men, were detained for questioning on Friday, a source close to the case told AFP.
The officers, who had already been suspended from duty, were being held at the National Police Inspectorate General (IGPN), and prosecutors opened an investigation into violence by a person in authority and false testimony, the source said.
Three of the four were being questioned on suspicion of “violence with a racist motive” committed intentionally in a group, prosecutors said. The fourth is being questioned on suspicion of using violence but is not accused of racism.
Zecler was initially himself detained for causing violence, but prosecutors threw out that probe and began investigating the officers instead.
Macron on Thursday held talks with Darmanin to call for tough punishments for those involved in the beating, a government source added.
“Nausea,” said the front page headline in the leftist Liberation daily over a close-up picture of Zecler’s swollen and bloodied face.
“The new video of a rare ferocity... adds to a problem fed over the last months by a succession of blunders and a tendency to revert to authoritarian tendencies,” it said.
The death in US police custody of George Floyd in May and the Black Lives Matter movement have reverberated in France where allegations of brutality against police officers are commonplace, particularly in poor and ethnically diverse urban areas.
“French police has a structural problem with violence, violence that is committed against visible minorities,” Fabien Jobard, a sociologist, told AFP.
“Unbearable video, unacceptable violence,” Mbappe wrote on Twitter next to a picture of the injured producer. “Say no to racism.”
The outcry comes after the lower house of parliament on Tuesday evening approved a security bill which would restrict the publication of photos or videos of police officers’ faces.
Media unions say it could give police a green light to prevent journalists from potentially documenting abuses, as well as stopping social media users from posting incriminating footage.
A protest against the draft law, which has yet to pass a Senate vote, has been called for Saturday in Paris.
In a sign that the government could be preparing to backtrack, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced late Thursday that he would appoint a commission to redraft Article 24 of the law that would restrict the publication of images of the police.
But this in turn sparked accusations that the prime minister was trying to bypass the legislature.
“It is not for the government to substitute the work of an external committee in the place of parliamentary prerogatives,” the speaker of the lower house Richard Ferrand told Castex, his office said.
Macron swept to power in 2017 as a centrist who rallied support from across the political spectrum. But critics and even some supporters accuse him of tilting to the right as he seeks re-election in 2022.
“Already accused of attacking public freedoms through the security bill... the executive faces an accumulation of cases of violence and police abuse, the images of which have disturbed even the ruling party,” said Le Monde daily.